Silver Classics: L2L Blogazine 2011 Top 7 (#3 of 7)

Silver 25th Wedding AnniversarySilver Classics is the Top 7 L2L posts over the last year. This classic review allows you to enjoy the Top Selections as L2L Editor/Publisher Tom Schulte takes some time off to celebrate his 25th Silver Wedding Anniversary!

Managing Mondays: Dealing With Team Conflict

by Jason Christensen

That’s it! I’ve had it!” “I can’t take it any more!” “I’m going to give him a piece of my mind!”

But no…wait! Conflict is manageable. But only if you how to!

Conflict Management: How To

It’s impossible to avoid conflict when you have a team of people collaborating on a project. Typically, this is caused when one person challenges the ideas, choices, or actions of another. When people work together they must learn how to resolve disagreements if they want to be successful in their vision.

The first golden rule is to stick to what you really know. And that is this:

Focus on your own reaction to the behavior in question; Not your interpretation of the other person’s motives or character.

Let’s start first with what causes conflict. Conflicts can arise for a variety of reasons, some common causes are:

What are some other common causes you have encountered?


If we do not recognize these situations promptly they will escalate and before long lead to:

~ A loss of communication
~ Increased mistakes
~ A reduction in effectiveness and workflow
~ Low morale
Lost customers
Increased turnover


What other issues could arise?

“A problem well stated is a problem half solved” – Charles F. Kettering

So what do we have to do to resolve the situation?

  • First, everyone must be calm before you can begin to settle a conflict so allow them ample time to cool off.
  • Privately gather each individual’s interpretations for the cause of events.
  • Discuss the problem with the group and make certain all parties are speaking of the same issue.
  • In order to get to the core of the problem each person should attempt to clearly identifying their issues.
  • People like to feel a part of the solution so in the next step you will need to help them refocus on the resolution rather than the problem. Doing this allows them ownership in the outcome.
  • Outline a plan letting everyone know the progress and the resolution.

Squint With Your Ears

As a mediator you will need to:

  • Keep the group focused on resolving the conflict.
  • Be respectful of all involved and demand respect as the intermediary.
  • Assist in lessening personal grievances and preclude defensive behaviors.
  • When challenged, and you will be, remain calm and refocus the group on the resolution process.
  • Don’t get irritated and don’t apologize; doing so will only deteriorate your position as the leader.
  • Do not conclude without a resolution in place the group can agree upon.
  • Finally, the leader must insist each member of the group implements their part in the resolution as determined by the group.

Let’s face it, dealing with conflict is never easy but it is necessary and cannot be avoided. To gain the trust, respect and admiration of your team you must address it head on in a calm, focused and professional manner. As you work through these situations you will continue to grow as a confident and capable leader.

Tell us about some of your conflict resolution stories.
Are there some problems that just cannot be solved?

Jason Christensen is National Accounts Manager at Milwaukee Electric Tool

He is an expert in managing virtual teams and loves steamed broccoli

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